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Monday, 15 October, 2001, 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK
Internet boost to world's largest wine auction
Wine bottles
Thousands of prospective buyers bid via the internet
By Maggie Shiels

The world's largest wine auction, held in California at the weekend, has underlined the role of the internet.

One million bottles of wine were up for auction with an estimated value of $10m (7m).

Following the terrorist attacks on 11 September, the number of buyers expected to attend the sale in Napa County fell sharply.

This fear was realised when less than half the 1500 seats at the auction were taken.

But thanks to the internet, thousands of prospective buyers were still able to take part in the auction by logging on at home.

More than 3000 people registered online to take part in the bidding, and over 100,000 people were watching the auction online at any one time.

Internet bidding

Julian Ellison from which represented online bidders said that most of the winning bids were from internet bidders.

"People are quite happy to spend money now over the internet, it is a safe place to do business, and it has been a great success," he said.

Given the important role the internet played in the wine auction it is ironic that the stocks of wine came from the failed online wine retailer,

The auction, which was organised by Realm Connect through fire-sale specialist AuctioNet, is estimated to have made between $3m and $5m for creditors owed money from had burned through $200m before filing for bankruptcy in late April.

By the BBC's Maggie Shiels
"The auction took place in a cavernous hanger in Napa"
See also:

07 Sep 01 | Business
Bust has liquid assets
21 Jun 01 | Business
New world wins the wine war
19 Mar 01 | Business
Dot.coms under the hammer
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